With a passion for understanding diverse perspectives, Isabella Lachinova, an upcoming senior at Terry Parker High School, discovered the Great Decisions program through her involvement in the International Baccalaureate (IB) program at her school. Intrigued by the unique opportunity to meet world-renowned speakers, Isabella joined the Great Decisions program and attended the Maria Ressa Global Issues Evening in December 2022. Maria Ressa, a Nobel Peace Prize recipient and renowned journalist from the Philippines, was the featured speaker at the event.

Isabella shared her excitement from attending the seminar, where she found a sense of connectivity and inspiration in the journalist’s story on the impact and power of social media. Isabella remarked that despite age and background differences, everyone faces challenges. She noted, “Maria Ressa is famous, and I’m a high school student.” She added, “Knowing what she went through, and what I went through. . . is enlightening—as I now know that there are people out there who share similar experiences.”

Isabella Lachinova

Isabella’s involvement in the Great Decisions program and her exposure to various events significantly influenced her career path and life goals. She initially planned to pursue secondary education in English but shifted her focus to public speaking after attending the Maria Ressa seminar. Isabella’s desire to connect with others and share empowering messages drove her decision to explore communications as a potential career. The program’s emphasis on global perspectives and the experiences of immigrants resonated with her personal background, fostering a deeper sense of empathy and understanding.

After attending a variety of World Affairs Council programming this past year, Isabella expressed her intent to encourage more students, especially those outside the IB program, to join Great Decisions. As a senior class officer, she plans to collaborate with Mr. Randal Smith, the Great Decisions teacher at Terry Parker, to involve a wider range of students in the program. Isabella believes that the Great Decisions program can inspire and motivate her peers, encouraging them to explore different perspectives, expand their knowledge, and develop valuable skills.

Isabella Lachinova’s journey through the Great Decisions program showcases the program’s transformative power and its ability to shape students’ career paths and global perspectives. From discovering her passion for public speaking to forming connections with diverse individuals, Isabella’s experiences demonstrate the Great Decisions capacity to inspire, motivate, and empower young minds in Northeast Florida.

To learn more about the Great Decisions program and ways to support our education programming, click here!